What is UDMA and How Does it Affect Your Divorce?
The UDMA stands for the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act. It was written and instilled in the 1970’s and serves as a model for no-fault divorce. Prior to the installation of the UDMA, most jurisdictions required that one party of the separating couple had to be “at fault” for the divorce. With UDMA, divorce occurs with no significant blame or “fault” placed on either spouse.
One of the main tenants of the UDMA is that it allows for the equitable division of property. Before UDMA, if a husband or wife sacrificed their careers or professional pursuits to raise a family, they might be left with little to nothing after a divorce. Focusing on the home and children, though valuable and rewarding, would not necessarily translate to financial stability. With the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act, both parties would equally share in the division of property and assets acquired during the marriage.
EQUITABLE DIVISION OF MARITAL PROPERTY AND ASSETS
Marital property is defined as the property obtained by either spouse during the marriage, unlike separate property, which is solely an individual’s. Because the property was acquired by the marriage, it is subject to division as part of the marital estate, unless a party can show that the property is “separate,” such as a gift or inheritance. Under UDMA, there are certain steps the divorcing couple must take. These steps include:
- Listing all the marital properties and assets
- Distinctly characterizing which property is marital and what is separate
- Calculating the value of the property and (if disputed) how much time each individual spent with it
- Determining the value of the assets
- Determining how to divide the property and assets
The courts strive to distribute all material aspects fairly, not necessarily equally, in a no-fault divorce.
CHILD SUPPORT AND CUSTODY
The UDMA also affects the way courts look at child support and custody. Because the divorce names no one at fault, child support and custody responsibilities can be evenly distributed as well, although this does not happen in every divorce. In Colorado, a parent awarded less parenting time with the child must generally provide child support to help offset the financial strain it takes to raise a child, for example.
At The Harris Law Firm, our Colorado divorce attorneys are well versed in the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act and know the requirements. Allow us to use our knowledge and experience to help your case. Call today for a consultation and review of your case.